Meet Alex Boutsikakis, Village Batch
We source, brand, import, and distribute organic Greek food from a small region in Greece to our hometown in Chicago
What do you love about your business and industry?
I love getting to traverse Chicago almost every day. I love seeing all the unique brick and mortar businesses that populate our great city. But most of all, I love my annual trip to the village in Greece where we source our olive oil.
Tell us what inspires you.
My true inspiration comes from supporting the small-scale family farmers in Greece. They work, love, and play harder than anyone else on earth. They LIVE.
What advice do you have for other creatives and entrepreneurs?
Always stay true to your values and ideals. Embrace the power of saying, "No". Be completely honest with people. Rebound quickly when something doesn't go the way you intended.
What is the most common question you get about you and your business?
What does Extra Virgin mean? Do you do [flavor] olive oil?!
Tell us about your process for making and creating.
The olive harvest season typically extends from December to February. However, we start picking our olives very early in the season, earlier than anyone else, so early that we are begging the local olive oil press to open their doors for us in October. Early-season harvested olives produce a much higher quality oil, more packed with flavor and health-benefits. All the wonderful health benefits we read about olive oil strictly comes from early-season olive oil. We pick our olives before they ripen, and we take them to the press, daily, as we pick them. There we crush the entire olives into a paste, and pressurize it (press) as the oil drips out. Throughout this entire process, at every step, it is imperative to protect the olives and the resulting oil from light, heat, and oxygen. To do this, we bottle the oil as quickly as possible. Lastly, we pack it, ship it, receive it in Chicago, and sell to various retail outlets.
Name three local makers and brands that you are inspired by and why.
Chocolate Twist: Kate Coffey was the first small business 'hustler' I got to know. I was impressed with her energy, resolve, and openness from day one.
Discover more about Village Batch at www.villagebatch.com